How to: Take photographs of Jewelry

One of the tasks to be tackled in selling jewelry is how to photograph it in a way that brings out the shape and the subtlety of the piece. As mentioned below, Jacqui has started to create beautiful silver wire-wrap jewelry by carefully encasing a cabochon – a shaped and polished semi-precious gemstone – in intricately shaped sterling silver wire. My job is to photograph them for her on-line sales web site.

If you look at the site, we have followed the approach of three variants for each piece. One is a picture of a lady wearing the pendant to show how it looks against skin, the second is against a black velvet background to bring out the colors, the third is to show an out of focus pastel colored background with the pendant seemingly floating in mid air. This last shot was made by using a glass topped coffee table, with an impressionist print on the floor about 12 inches below, and the pendant on the glass. I used two flashes on each side of the piece, one firing through a white umbrella, one reflected back from a silver umbrella a little further away. They give a broad enough swathe of light to properly illuminate the piece and the poster on the floor. With an f/8 aperture, I get a shallow depth of field to give the background a nice blurred impression. The result is shown below.

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